Brookhaven is Latest Long Island Complete Streets Success Story

Between 2006 and 2008, 633 pedestrians and cyclists were injured or killed in traffic crashes in Brookhaven. Click to view as a factsheet with more information.

Led by the indefatigable Councilwoman Connie Kepert, the Town of Brookhaven in Suffolk County last week became the third municipality on Long Island to adopt a complete […]

Fiscal Responsibility? NJ Will Borrow $2 Billion for Toll Roads as Rail Tunnel Stalls

Even as NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s administration debates canceling the Access to the Region’s Core rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York — supposedly for reasons of fiscal responsibility — state officials are borrowing another $2 billion to pay for widening NJ’s toll roads. The cost of the planned widenings of the NJ […]

White House Reportedly Green-Lights Transportation Bill

Transportation advocates looking for a fully funded multi-year transportation bill got a boost last week when USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood told members of the Transportation Equity Network that he had received a green light from the White House to move on the country’s next 6-year transportation bill.  According to Transportation for America, USDOT officials […]

Rollout of Better Bus on Manhattan’s East Side Starts Next Month

NYC's 1st/2nd Ave. Select Bus Service will roll out on October 10.

Select Bus Service is coming to Manhattan’s East Side in just a few weeks. This innovative package of bus improvements is planned for First and Second Avenues and includes new bus-only lanes, three-door buses, and an off-board fare payment system; together […]

NY Transportation Forum Reveals United Woes

Leah Golby, Albany Common Council member and co-founder of Capitol Region Transit Advocates, addresses the audience.

Albany and New York City can seem worlds apart, but when it comes to transportation woes, there may be more similarities than differences. At a September 21 forum held at the Albany Public Library, “Fighting for Greater Transportation […]

CT Gubernatorial Candidates Respond to Transportation Questionnaire

Read full answers from Dan Malloy and Tom Foley at TSTC's website by clicking here.

As the race to succeed Governor M. Jodi Rell continues, Connecticut’s residents are beginning to get a better idea of Democrat Dan Malloy and Republican Thomas Foley‘s policy platforms.

As a way to identify transportation policy positions, Tri-State […]

U.S. Traffic Fatalities Plummet — But Why?

(Click to view larger version.)

Traffic deaths have fallen to their lowest level since 1950, according to newly-released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).  33,808 motorists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists were killed in traffic collisions in 2009, down 10 percent from 2008 and an incredible 22 […]

Long Island’s Killer Road Claims Another Life

Nassau County police cordon off an area near where high school student Brittany Vega was killed while crossing Sunrise Highway, the second-deadliest road in the NYC metropolitan region.

There is terrible news out of Wantagh, NY, where Newsday reports that 14-year-old Brittany Vega was struck and killed while crossing Sunrise Highway on her way […]

Support the Access to the Region’s Core Tunnel!

New Jerseyans can now speak out for the threatened Access to the Region’s Core tunnel using TSTC’s website, at www.tstc.org/weneedarc.

(Click to take action.)

Earlier this week, NJ Transit executive director Jim Weinstein acknowledged that the ARC project to build a second rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York may be sacrificed […]

New Ozone Standards Could Mean Change for Upstate New York

New transit service in Dutchess and Ulster Counties has been funded with federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds, which go to regions that do not meet federal air quality standards.

At the tail end of New York City’s hottest summer on record, the federal Environmental Protection Agency delayed a decision on proposed stricter national standards for ozone that was expected at the end of August. There has been plenty of political heat over the proposed standard, which has the potential to put much of New York State in “non-attainment” (failing EPA standards), forcing agencies to find new ways to clean the air.

What Non-Attainment Means for Transportation

States must improve air quality in non-attainment regions by developing plans to tackle major pollution sources, including transportation. Being in non-attainment is hardly a transformative event. For example, all of New Jersey and Connecticut is in non-attainment for ozone, but that has not stopped huge road projects like the NJ Turnpike widening or Q Bridge expansion from moving forward.

But it can have significant effects. The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation’s “state implementation plan” caps parking in Manhattan’s central business district and was cited in a recent lawsuit which reduced parking in NYC’s planned Hudson Yards district. Regions in non-attainment also get funds from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program (CMAQ), a large program typically used for transit, bike and pedestrian, and demand management projects. In our region, CMAQ funds have been used for projects as diverse as freight rail improvements in NJ, the purchase of shuttle buses in Norwalk, CT; and parts of the Harlem River Esplanade (park and bike/pedestrian path) in New York City.

A New Standard

Counties in red are currently in non-attainment. Stricter ozone standards would put many more into that category. (Click to view larger version.)

The current standard for ozone levels is 75 parts per billion (ppb) measured in an 8-hour period. In January, the EPA proposed a stronger standard, between 60 to 70 ppb. If adopted, this standard would be gradually phased in through 2030.

As the map at right shows, a stronger standard would mean a new state of affairs for less populated counties that have never been in non-attainment before.  “Any new projects that add [road] capacity… will require some kind of offset or mitigation project to minimize or reduce vehicle emissions,” said Bill Tobin, principal transportation planner for the Ulster County Transportation Council, the municipal planning organization.

UCTC would have to produce different travel demand modeling and would need to better coordinate with planning organizations in surrounding counties, whose activities impact Ulster County’s air, Tobin said. He worried that “it will be burdensome to meet these requirements and continue performing our other daily responsibilities,” given staffing levels at the agency.  On the positive side, qualifying for CMAQ funds will help the County move forward on much-needed transit, park and ride, and trail projects.

» Continue reading…